It’s been a long time since I last wrote to you Baby Stella–if I can still call you a baby. You’re getting so big and so intelligent! In the past 2 weeks you’ve started sitting yourself up, crawling, and now pulling yourself up on everything. Everything! No longer content to roll around on the floor after plastic balls and tiny toys, the world is your playground. You love to open and close doors, pull out folded laundry and pat the dogs with your sticky hands during lunch. You clap and dance, swinging your elbows and shaking your head, when you hear music, and when there is no music, you sing to yourself, or dance to the music in your own head. You look for us around corners and turn to find the source of sounds, whether they be heliocopters or lawn mowers or a bird in a tree. You sometimes hold one of my fingers while you nurse, often times pinning my arm into a hug.
You say da-da-da-da all day long, shriek when you are happy, grunt when you are stimulated, and make a small noise, a ta-ta-ta-ta with your tounge when you are thinking or being sweet.
You wave hello when we say hi, clap when we clap. Sometimes you look to see why it is that we are clapping, as if wondering when you’ll be let in on the joke. When we say “ta-da!” you raise your hands high over your head. Then you do it again and again so that we will say “ta-da!” You love this game. When someone leaves, you wave good-bye, but not until they’ve already left.
Changing your diaper is like wrestling an alligator that’s taken bath salts. Every. Single. Time. It’s my least favorite time. Not the poop. The struggle. Oye.
Every night we have a big discussion about what jammies to put you in so that you’ll be comfy. Tonight, it was a little warm, but not too warm. You’re too tall now for many of your best jammies (namely the purple polar bear with white polka-dot jammies that have been your uniform since December). I pulled out a 2 piece pajama set that was handed down, size 12 months. I figured they might be big, but no: They fit perfectly.
Not since you were 3 months old and moved into your crib from our room have I shed a tear over how much you’ve grown. I handle your milestones with pride and look forward to so many more of them. But tonight, you wore big kid pajamas and it was almost like I didn’t recognize you. You look more like the kid you’re becoming than the baby you were, and it was so hard to have that realization.
You’ve already had your first Christmas, first vacation, first meal, first tooth, first bruise…so many firsts. First hugs, first friends, first fears. I know there are so many firsts yet to come, but today…today reminded me of when you were born. I stopped being pregnant and realized the significance of having a baby–being a mom. Today, I feel like I stopped having a baby and started having a kid. It’s something I look forward to, immensely. I’m dying to take you so many places and show you so much. But to know that the tiny baby days are long gone is so hard.
So, tonight, in your big kid jammies, after I nursed you on your quilt, I rubbed your back. I patted your hair and did “one finger” massage the way my mom did when I was a kid. You’ve never really tolerated lying still with me, not since you could roll. I am making more of an effort to sop up these moments and absorb the feeling of your small snuggley innocence. When you hold my finger as you nurse, as you drift off to a dusky sleep, I will leave my finger in your chubby fist and be so grateful for these moments.